What is Tuvan Throat Singing?
Tuvan Throat Singing is a vocal style that features harmonically rich sounds created by oscillating parts of the throat not used in western singing styles. This video is an introduction to the three fundamental styles of Tuvan throat singing: Kargyraa, Khoomei, and Sygyt. Examples and demonstration of techniques are provided.
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Xorekteer (Throat singing from the chest)
Generate a small bubbling sensation in your larynx by gently toning the phrase “Ahhh” and feel where the bubbling is strongest. This bubbling is created by your vocal cords/folds moving in your larynx. This is the region the throat that needs to be constricted.
Now, sing the phrase “Ahhh” and squeeze the region of the throat (the larynx) that was creating the bubbling sound in the previous exercise. When you squeeze the larynx while simultaneously singing, it creates the xorekteer voice.
Generate the Xorekteer voice. Now, bring the lips and mouth into the shape of a small circular opening to create a chamber for the sound to resonate in. This proper reshaping of the mouth creates the Khoomei style.
While still practicing Khoomei, you can now bring the tongue to the top of the jaw, filtering the sound out through a small opening wherever you feel comfortable, creating the high whistle of Sygyt.
Begin with the mouth closed for back pressure. Begin by clearing the throat with a squeeze of the larynx. Almost like making the tone “Hmmm”. When you feel the vibration of the throat coming on, open the mouth and experiment with different vowel sounds.
*Photo of Kongar-ol Ondar by Bill Loewy courtesy Wikimedia Commons
I’ve been getting into throat singing recently and was really amazed to learn how many different styles there are. My interest was spurred after visiting a monastery in Nepal many years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I finally started studying a bit more. And by studying, I do mean just the absolute basics for now, but it’s an art form I will definitely continue.